Life Time Fitness CEO says members are ‘aching’ to get back to the gym

Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi on Thursday said that the gym industry could see a “small degradation” as more people opt for at-home workouts, although gymgoers will still return to their clubs once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. 

“I think that a small degradation is possible,” Akradi told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “While the workout at home is something they (gym members) have to do when they don’t have an option, they’re still aching for the opportunity to go to the clubs and join their communities.” 

Gyms were among the many businesses that were forced to shut their doors across the U.S. as the coronavirus outbreak worsened earlier this year. While not every state has since lifted restrictions on gyms, which health professionals warn could present a high risk for Covid-19 transmission, many have allowed fitness businesses to return at reduced capacity. 

However, months of closed doors have bruised some fitness companies while boosting others. Gold’s Gym filed for Chapter 11 on May 4 with plans to close around 30 company-owned gyms. Meanwhile, shares of Peloton, the exercise bike maker, have rallied more than 100% year-to-date as home fitness demand surges. 

Akradi said that while more of the company’s members had to break a sweat at home during the coronavirus outbreak, they seem even “more determined” to return to the clubs and join their communities as states begin to reopen. 

“It’s like music, you can listen to any song for free on some app or something, but people still pay a large amount of money to go to a live entertainment,” Akradi said. 

Life Time Fitness has worked closely with local governments to reopen their gyms safely, Akradi said. He said the company will work with the government every way they can in states where coronavirus cases are surging. 

“Life brings challenges and when there are challenges you just suck it up,” he said. 

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